Facts Matter - Horizon Shine's operations $0 & 0% of the City's Budget.
The City of Sebastopol spent $0 on Horizon Shine's operations last year and $0 is budgeted this year. The Village was funded by the County. The operations of Horizon Shine are costing 0% of the City Budget.
Source: The Sebastopol 22-23 Budget. You’ll find only one financial item about Horizon Shine, and that’s the City acting as a pass-through for a County grant designated for Horizon Shine. No City discretion there because it’s not the City’s money.
The $80,000 grant from the County designated for Horizon Shine is on page 37 of the 22-23 Budget under "Intergovernmental and Grants” and then “County Grants.” Look in the 21-22 column. On page 48 of the Budget you'll see $60,000 of that (so far) distributed to Horizon Shine. Add up the $30K in 21-22 plus the $30K in 22-23. Remember, this is not the City’s money. It’s the County’s money. Click here for the March 2, 2022 letter confirming the $80,000 grant from the County, to the City, as a pass-through, designated for Horizon Shine. This letter was submitted with the Report by the Ad Hoc Committee for the Unhoused at the March 15, 2022 City Council meeting (Item 17 at that meeting).
Bottom line for Sebastopol taxpayers: Horizon Shine operations are not being paid for by City money. They are 0% of the City Budget. It's all coming from funds allocated by the County.
Who can we thank for this allocation of County funding to support a City RV Village serving City unhoused and bringing benefits to the larger community? Supervisor Lynda Hopkins and the rest of the Board of Supervisors, the amazing County Continuum of Care, Sonoma Applied Village Services, the nonprofit that operates Horizon Shine and did their part to obtain County funding for the Village, and St Vincent to Paul, the nonprofit that owns the land the Village leases.
Questions or comments? Feel free to email Diana Rich at email@example.com.
October 31, 2022 Update: On Nextdoor there were a variety of questions posed related to the information I posted on Horizon Shine's funding. Here are the answers I shared on Nextdoor:
Overall Comment to Nextdoor Community regarding my update: I've gone through the thread here and tried to collect all the questions that seemed to call for answers. I did my best, but I may have missed a question or not provided the information that was needed to answer a question fully. If you need any additional information, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please excuse the length of this post. It's now REALLY long, but that was driven by the number of questions I found in the thread. Also, please remember that these answers are mine only. They do not represent the City of Sebastopol, or the position of the City Council as a whole, or the opinion of any other City Councilmembers. They're just my best effort at sharing information, to the best of my ability.
- Question: Are there rules at Horizon Shine. If the rules are broken, are there consequences? Answer: The RV Village is operated by Sonoma Applied Village Services. As has been reported by SAVS, which operates the RV Village, it currently has 19 lived-in vehicles on site, with 25 people residing there. They were formerly in the RV encampment on Morris Street. They were moved to Horizon Shine (845 Gravenstein Hwy North) in February 2022. Yes, there are rules and expectations. Yes, they are "exited" if they break the rules. They get case management and supportive services. Some of them have already moved into Park Village, which is also in Sebastopol, and is a permanent living arrangement. There's a FAQ on the City website that might give you more info: https://ci.sebastopol.ca.us/City-Government/City-Council/City-Council-Special-Projects/Horizon-Shine-RV-Village. Also, there's a video on Horizon Shine that you can get to here: https://ci.sebastopol.ca.us/City-Government/City-Council/City-Council-Special-Projects/Town-Hall-on-Status-of-Unhoused
- Question: Are Horizon Shine residents getting wrap around services? How is this possible if there aren’t available funds for mental health and drug & alcohol treatment? Answer: Yes, the residents are getting wrap around services. Please see the FAQ on the City Council’s special projects webpage. https://ci.sebastopol.ca.us/City-Government/City-Council/City-Council-Special-Projects/Horizon-Shine-RV-Village (see answers to questions 15 & 17). Yes, SAVS has reported that funds are increasingly limited, but SAVS is persistent, and where funds fall short SAVS is finding other solutions to meet the needs of the residents of Horizon Shine.
- Question: Were the concerns of neighbors of Horizon Shine heard? Were more people against Horizon Shine than were opposed to it? Does the City Council care about the concerns of neighbors of Horizon Shine? Answer: The City Council received input about Horizon Shine at City Council meetings and also via email. Details regarding meetings are on the City Council’s special projects webpage: https://ci.sebastopol.ca.us/City-Government/City-Council/City-Council-Special-Projects/Horizon-Shine-RV-Village (see the answers to questions 8 and 9). There were many people expressing concerns about the Horizon Shine location, and there were many people expressing support. There were many people calling for action to address the Morris Street encampment. All these comments were heard and taken seriously. I know that from participating in the City Council meetings and listening to the hours of discussion among Councilmembers (recordings of all City Council meetings are available here for those interested: https://livestream.com/accounts/14608643.) For me, when I considered our town’s choices and the many comments submitted by the public, establishing the RV Village in its current location was the best available option for addressing the Morris Street encampment issue.
- Question: Do councilmembers own land in the Morris Street area? Answer: To my knowledge, no councilmembers own land or businesses or homes anywhere near the Morris Street area. Moreover, if any of them had this sort of interest near Morris Street, our City Council conflict of interest rules would have required those councilmembers to recuse themselves from discussion or decision making about a topic affecting the Morris Street area.
- Question: How much is Park Village getting from the City each year? Answer: Park Village is the mobile home park on Highway 12 at the entry to town coming from the direction of Santa Rosa. The City Budget includes $73,000 for the Park Village management contract for 22-23. That same management contract was $87,000 the year before, in 21-22. You can see this in the 22-23 Budget, at page 139. (The link to the budget is above in the original post.) The contract is with West County Community Services, the nonprofit that manages Park Village. As is explained on the WCCS webpage, Park Village is home to 19 very low income families living in mobile homes. Park Village also provides housing to formerly homeless individuals, without regard to ability to pay. The City owns the land that Park Village occupies, and is obligated as the property owner to maintain it. For more information about Park Village, please see the WCCS Park Village webpage and the City Council’s special projects webpage: https://www.westcountyservices.org/park-village-housing-project/ https://ci.sebastopol.ca.us/City-Government/City-Council/City-Council-Special-Projects/Horizon-Shine-RV-Village (answer to question 36 of 39).
- Question: Is there a way for the City Council to put a stop to homelessness in Sebastopol? Answer: At the core of this question is whether we can in some form prohibit homelessness within our City or remove the homeless from our town. Setting aside issues of compassion, and simply answering this question directly, I can share that it's been made clear to me as a City Councilmember that the current state of the law does not allow a City to do this. There are legal rules that protect the homeless. I feel Sebastopol has done it’s best to use the tools we have available to address the problem locally in a compassionate way: hiring a homeless outreach worker through West County Community Services, who works with local unhoused to connect them with services and to act as a liaison to the police department; maintaining the management contract for Park Village which provides housing options for low income and the homeless; and facilitating the Horizon Village operations to provide a location for the RVs formerly in the Morris Street encampment.
- Question: Have we made any headway on homelessness in Sebastopol? Answer: I definitely feel we’ve made headway. These are the facts: The Morris Street encampment has been cleared. We have 25 people in 19 lived-in vehicles residing in a safe, healthy environment at Horizon Shine, and our outreach worker continues to serve the remaining unhoused in such an effective manner that we now have numbers that show we’ve reduced our unhoused count from an official 129 in 2020 to 78 in 2022. The reality of this number, however, is even more impressive. You can see my assessment here: https://www.dianarich.com/news/homeless-count-down-in-sebastopol (the article includes a link to the Sonoma County Homeless Point in Time Count report). I am hopeful that with the continued services of the homeless outreach worker we can keep our homeless count down into the future.